FC Augsburg star Halil Altintop talks to TheHardTackle on life back in Germany, Augsburg’s whopping season thus far, the possibility of playing with his brother in the future and a lot more in yet another exciting edition of The Talking Game.
Born in Gelsenkirchen, Altintop started his career with SG Wattenscheid 09, before making the big switch to Kaisersluatern. The Turkish international enjoyed three seasons with Kaiserslautern before returning back to Gelsenkirchen to play for none other than Schalke 04.
Altintop made stops at Eintracht Frankfurt and and Trabzonspor before arriving at Augsburg in the summer of 2013. He has returned to Bundesliga action with a bang and is currently the club’s second highest goal scorer. The versatile attacker chats with us about life back in Germany, a reunion with his brother and a lot more!
Q: How glad are you to have returned to the Bundesliga? Were the two years away from Germany really difficult for you?
Altintop: I am very glad about being back in the Bundesliga. The atmosphere in the different stadiums is simply fantastic. But the two years in Turkey were also good for me because I gained a lot of new experiences in this time.
Q: How would you rate the Turkish league in comparison with the Bundesliga? Do you think the Bundesliga has improved a lot since the last time you were here?
Altintop: The German league is definitely much stronger. Discipline and the style of playing football are different, and I’d estimate both these traits to be a lot higher in Germany. The second question is difficult to answer, but it has indeed become a lot more offensive and risky.
Q: Did you expect Bayern Munich to turn into such a rampant force when you left the Bundesliga back in 2011?
Altintop: I did not expect this, but it could have been suspected that Bayern Munich would assume Barcelona’s role at some point of time.
Q: You’ve clearly been enjoying yourself at Augsburg this season and so have all the others at the club. What do you think is the main reason for the club’s superb form so far?
Altintop: I think the main reasons are the humility and closeness, which everyone at the club has. It’s like a big family.
Q: If you had to pick one player who you have enjoyed playing with at Augsburg, who would it be?
Altintop: I don’t want to highlight anyone in particular. We are in such a good position, only because of our collective effort.
Q: What has it been like to work with Markus Weinzierl? How are his methods different from all the other coaches you have been with?
Altintop: A big difference is that Markus Weinzierl is a man of clear words who doesn’t talk too much, but what he’s saying makes sense. It’s a pleasure to work with him and the whole team.
Q: You have shifted clubs fairly often and in almost all the instances you’ve been transferred for free. Why do you think this has been the case?
Altintop: I think that I am a player who chooses a club only after I am fully convinced and as a consequence can identify with that club.
Q: Are there any chances that you will join your brother Hamit at a club in the future?
Altintop: There are chances that we will play together as long as both of us are active in football. But it’s difficult to answer this because football is a day-to-day business.
Q: Any anecdotes about your brother and yourself during your football career?
Altintop: There are naturally many anecdotes [smiles]. The first matches we played against each other (me at Kaiserslautern, he at Schalke) were absolutely special for both of us. And of course when we played for the Turkish national team together – those are matches I always remember with pleasure.
TheHardTackle would like to thank Halil Altintop and FC Augsburg for the interview